Calls for ban on anti-smoking ad

Child welfare groups say ads depicting teenagers in a submissive position at a man's waist height are inappropriate

24 February 2010
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A SHOCK anti-smoking campaign showing teenagers in a submissive position with a cigarette between their lips has outraged child welfare groups and ministers.

Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot has described the new series of ads as "inappropriate" and Family Minister Nadine Morano has called for them to be banned on public taste grounds.

Each of the three ads shows a teenager on their knees with a cigarette between their lips, at a man's waist height, looking submissively into his eyes. It comes with the slogan: "Smoking makes you a slave to tobacco."

The Association des Droits des Non-Fumeurs, which is behind the campaign, has defended the sexual connotations.

President Gérard Audureau said: "Yes it's crude. Yes it's daring, but in this campaign we are targeting older teenagers - a group whose use of cigarettes is growing. The health arguments do not get through to them because they think they are immortal."

Child welfare group Enfance et Partage said the campaign was cruel and insensitive towards young victims of sexual abuse.

Another group, La Voix de l'Enfant, said the image was totally inappropriate - not least since parliament is in the middle of passing a law cracking down on online paedophilia.

Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot told RTL: "Anti-smoking ads are allowed to shock - I don't have a problem with that - but there are better ways of doing it than this."

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